Does Boxing Build Muscle? Here Is The Answer!

does boxing build muscle

We see boxers who have big muscles all the time in magazines but is boxing the only reason for these great physiques? Or do they lift weights or do other resistance training? Can you really build an amazing body with boxing? If you are wondering the answers to these questions continue reading!

boxing and muscle building

With that being said, there is also one more thing to consider and this one is generally overlooked. And this is “is boxing a short term or long term thing”. This also should be taken into consideration because one is totally useless for fitness goals.

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Firstly, if you damage your muscle fibers in any way shape or form, considering that you eat in a calorie surplus, you will build muscle. And yes, boxing training damages muscle fibers. Right now you might be thinking alright then I can build muscle with boxing and you are tempted to start looking for a boxing gym. But hold on a minute or two as there are definitely more things to consider. If you don’t have enough knowledge about it you might not reach your physique goals.

As some of you already know a lot of boxers don’t just do classic boxing routines (mitt drills, jumping rope, etc.). Some of them also do plyometric exercises some lift weights…

These strength training types are actually preferred for growing muscles by bodybuilders. So you must keep in mind that there can be various other strength regimens which boxers might do and boxing might not be solely the reason for that incredible physique of a boxing superstar.

Which Boxing Training Types are Effective for Building Muscle?

With that being said there are a lot of different types of boxing workouts that you can do. However, not all boxing training types are equal. Some help you increase the size of muscle fibers thus these are more effective and obviously, these make muscles grow more.

Which Muscle Groups do Workout Together in a Session? While punching abs need to stay intact in order to punch effectively. Back muscles, triceps are also involved and these muscles face resistance during punching. So it is fair to say that punching builds muscle in a lot of different body parts and this results in effective all-around physical improvement.

Many of you asked the question which is “can I have big guns?”. Considering my experiences, you can definitely build solid arm muscle and have bigger biceps with boxing training.

Heavy Bag: Considering all of these there is no surprise that heavy bag training should be prioritized in order to build more muscle as it provides more resistance than any other boxing training type. You can even increase the resistance by filling the bag more. On the other hand, you can’t go really hard with a free-standing one as these can just fall and make a mess or it can swing more than it should and because of that, your muscles will not be under constant tension most of the time during training.

So hanging ones are preferred for muscle building over free-standing punching bags. These don’t work muscles as much as dumbells but still, this training type is still way more effective than the other boxing training types.

Focus Mitts: Actually you can’t go hard with punch mitts either but this one has an advantage. You can throw different types of punches including uppercuts and thanks to the variation the muscle improvement will be more balanced.

is boxing effective for building muscle mass

Speed Bag: Speed bag is mostly used for increasing hand speed and building important habits for boxing like keeping hands up all times however using it regularly also improves arm and shoulder muscles. It does not have a huge impact as it provides low resistance however the built muscles will be dense and this is the reason why these muscles will remain sharp for a long time.

However, don’t discourage because of the fact that muscle building benefits of speed bags are limited. Remember that just like any other boxing workout speed bag benefits you in other ways like improving cardio, agility, punching skills…

Reflex Bags, Double End Bag: You don’t exert too much force during these training types. With that being said, you can actually build razor-sharp abs with a couple of months of training with those as you need to punch in a way that these bags can swing right. When this is the case, the abs are contracted throughout the session.

As a side note, people generally forget that any boxing training type is also a form of cardio. And burnt calories mostly spent on moving fast, dodging, footwork etc.

Short and Long Term

Do you have short-term goals?

I have been working out with free weights, machines for four years and let me tell you, you need to know what your goal is before you do any type of workout. Because even though you give it all during workouts you may not see any significant improvement for a really long time if you don’t have a specific goal like gaining muscle mass and it is pretty discouraging.

With that being said, boxing provides the results fast if you don’t have much muscle mass or it is the first time you punch. Because it will surprise your muscles in an intense way. However, comparing it to lifting weights the resistance is low and you really can’t increase it much.

So boxing training should be just short-term for everyone who plans to build muscle.

If you have been lifting weights for a long time, you can stop training with weights for a while and start going to a boxing gym and throw hooks to surprise your muscles. Thus, the muscle fibers will be more susceptible to improvement after that. The surprise will shock the muscles and it tricks muscles into growing. When you feel like your body composition does not change anymore with boxing, then you can go back to using weight machines.

Also, consider taking supplements like protein powder, creatine in order to maximize your results. Boxing requires you to spend a lot of calories so there is no harm in investing in a good pre-workout shake that has a solid caffeine amount.boxing is great for training abs and triceps

Are Muscles Necessary for Boxing?

By the way, more muscle mass does not equal more punching power. This is why if you are a boxer you need to think twice before you do the incline barbell bench press and pump blood into muscle cells.


When you have more muscle you also have more water weight. So what does that actually mean? Basically, if you have more muscles, you will move slower. Even though you have more power it does not equal punching power as speed also plays a huge role in this. So this does not improve the knockout chances nor punching power. Boxers or any other martial artists, who want to improve punching power should have a toned body and definitely should not have excessive muscle mass, which can slow them down.

Conclusive Thoughts

So it can be concluded that boxing is not the way to go if your sole purpose is to build big muscles. However, if you are at the beginning stages of your bodybuilding journey, want to build denser muscles, improve endurance or try out different routines, boxing workouts can be preferred. If that is you, you can start by choosing a pair of heavy bag gloves and start pounding a bag which is my preference for building muscle efficiently. And the awesome thing is that you don’t even need to go to a boxing gym as it can be found in almost any gym!

However, considering everything the choice is up to your preference. After evaluating what you need, you can make the decision of whether you should incorporate boxing training types into your routine or not for building muscle mass.

Image Courtesy of Michael Evans and Chris Turner via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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